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Heartbreak repeated
This season was supposed to be different.

The Central Valley High School varsity boys soccer team's 2012 campaign ended exactly the same way it did in 2010 and 2009.

The Hawks finished second in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

Sixth-seeded River Valley captured the Division-III crown with a 2-0 win over fifth-seeded Central Valley at Alex G. Spanos Stadium on Saturday in Stockton.

"It's disappointing," Hawks junior striker Omar Orozco said. "I can't believe we lost again. I thought this year was ours. We were the favorites."

Central Valley (24-3-2) set a program record for wins in a season this year.

The Hawks also captured their fifth straight conference championship and secured their sixth consecutive playoff berth.

But the goal of winning section titles still remains elusive.

Central Valley squandered a two-goal lead on its way to a 3-2 loss to Vista del Lago in the Division-IV finals in 2010. The Hawks were upset 2-0 by crosstown-rival Ceres High in 2009.

"Life isn't always fair," Central Valley head coach Omar Leon said.

The Hawks lost to the Falcons despite dominating possession and creating more scoring opportunities.

River Valley (13-2-3) didn't allow a single goal in regulation play during the postseason tournament. The Falcons posted a 4-0 win over El Camino. River Valley won 5-4 on penalty kicks versus Rio Americano and Patterson.

Central Valley failed to score for just the second time this year.

Orozco and Diego Duran scored a combined 41 goals during the Hawks' first 28 games.

Ozzie Ramos, Central Valley's star central midfielder and the Western Athletic Conference MVP, did not play against River Valley.

He tallied 22 goals and 14 assists in 2012.

Ramos ended his junior season prematurely so he could compete in a college showcase tournament in New Jersey. He suited up for the Maryland-based ASA Milan Black Hawks under-16 travel club.

"We would have won if Ozzie was here," Orozco said. "He controls the middle."

Alfredo Hernandez accounted for both of River Valley's goals.

He broke a scoreless tie when he scored from 25 yards out in the 38th minute.

Hernandez dashed Central Valley's comeback hopes with a close-range goal late in the second half.

Falcon teammate Ivan Lopez delivered the pass.

"We stuck to our game plan and it didn't work out," Leon said. "They were very lethal on the counterattack."

When the final whistle blew, Central Valley co-captain Anthony Calvo dropped to his knees, covered his face with hands and collapsed to the ground before slowly walking off the field.

On the opposite sideline, River Valley's coach and players celebrated their historical achievement. The Falcons' soccer program captured the school's first section title.

Central Valley fell short again for the third time.

Coach Leon and his players reluctantly posed for a group photo after being presented the runner-up plaque.

"We didn't want to take a picture," Orozco said. "We wanted the (blue section) banner. We should make it back next year."

"It's been a long season," Leon added. "The kids have worked very hard. I'm very proud of them. There's nothing to be ashamed of. We played well. We just didn't finish."